“It certainly is the best tournament in the world that’s not a Slam, and it can be more enjoyable than some of the Slams,” proclaims Larry Ellison, the world’s fifth-richest man and owner of the Indian Wells tennis tournament.
Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, has earned the right to boast about the BNP Paribas Open, an ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory event that consistently gets rave reviews from fans and players alike.
Indian Wells is located near the California haven of Palm Springs which is more noted as being the home of the tan and famous. The desert tennis showcase has many features that make it a top destination tournament.
Besides having temperatures that reach 98 degrees with lows in the 60 to 70 degree range, Indian Wells is home to one of the biggest tennis stadiums in the world. Along with 11 match courts, 6 practice courts, and 2 Har-Tru clay courts the 16,100-seat Stadium court, is the second largest tennis-specific stadium in the world. Arthur Ashe stadium, home of the U.S. Open, is the tops with a capacity of 23,200.
Since taking over in 2009, Ellison, with an estimated wealth of 39 billion dollars, has not been timid about spending about eight million dollars to further upgrade the Indian Wells Garden facility.
The latest addition is the installation of hawk-eye on every court, the first tennis tournament in the world to do so at a cost of $60,000 dollars a court.
Along with a player restaurant and lounge area with picnic tables outside, a grassy knoll, a huge expanse of practice courts and seven smaller ones and a beer-drinking and shopping area, Indian Wells has grown to be the biggest tournament outside of the four Grand Slams.
The business of managing the event every year is the charge of Charlie Pasarell, a former number 1 U.S player. In fact, Pasarell and his business partner Raymond Moore started and funded the Indian Wells tournament at the beginning in 2000.
Another feature of the tournament is that it starts a month after the end of the Australian Open that helps players come to Indian Wells excited to start playing again.
With over 300,000 visitors per year attending the event, Indian Wells is a top destination for tennis fans from around the world.
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells runs March 5 -18 2012. Tennis Channel is providing daily coverage of the event with prize money of over 4 million dollars.